Public raises concerns with town water

Lucas Vance Staff Writer

November 13, 2013

WINNSBORO — During the Nov. 5 town council meeting, Mike Ward from Parklane Drive advised council of water leaks at both 206 and 219. Ward said the leaks have had metal covers on them for the past nine months and asked when the leaks would receive a permanent fix.

Mayor Roger Gaddy ensured Ward he would receive further information regarding the leaks on Parklane.

“We will get you some information on Parklane and the water problems there,” he said.

In addition to water leaks, Ward also questioned council about the discoloration of the town’s water. Gaddy explained that because of recent turnover in the reservoir — where the water reverses itself with the top water going to the bottom and the bottom water going to the top — there was a sediment called manganese that was picked up from the bottom.

“It is a non-toxic chemical but it has to be run through several processes to get the tainted color out of the water,” Gaddy explained. “It is very fine and difficult to filter out, but it will not hurt you and we have received an opinion from DHEC.”

Assistant water director and waste water supervisor Otis Williams said his department has take quick action to fix the discoloration.

“We regret any inconvenience that this may be causing the public,” he stated. “We are working diligently to resolve this issue as quickly and safely as possible.”

Because the manganese level jumped up higher than expected, some of the remedies being implemented at this time include introducing the chemical potassium permanganate into the treatment plant to help reduce manganese levels.

“Under normal levels the plant can handle the amount of manganese, but because of the high levels we had to do an additional treatment,” Williams said. “Manganese is a common chemical and it will not hurt the public at this level, it is just not pleasing aesthetically.”

As of Oct. 31, Williams said the plant had cleared 50 percent of the manganese levels and believed it would only be two to three days before the level of manganese would be back down to normal. As of Nov. 11, the town’s water is still discolored with a yellow tint.

Residents can call the Winnsboro Water Treatment Plant at 803-635-4121 or contact DHEC at 803-898-3908 with any additional concerns.

In new business, gas, water and sewer director Jesse Douglas made capital a expenditure request for funds to paint the natural gas pipeline station. Douglas said it has been a few years since it was painted and sandblasted. The cost of the labor and materials is estimated at $4,850. There was also a need to install a fence which will cost $2,400. The total cost of $7,250 was unanimously approved.

Town manager Don Wood stated that the funds would be taken from the gas investment account.

Councilman Jack Wilkes recently drove the site and was impressed with the work.

“Driving past the fence you can take notice of the improvements and it looks good,” he said.

In other business, Fairfield County Emergency Medical Services sent a letter to Wood requesting permission to place an antenna on the Cook Road water tank. The request was made due to lack of radio communications coverage in the Fairfield County area. Deputy Director of EMS, TC Collier wrote in a letter to the Town of Winnsboro stating that the project would require welding a short stand, placing an omni-directional antenna on top of the tank and running a coaxial cable down to a small building that would house the repeater radio equipment.

A recent request to place a radio antenna on the water tank was turned down because of liability concerns.

“I think the previous request, in John Fantry’s (town attorney) opinion, the request appeared to be more for a personal use and not for the general purpose,” Gaddy noted.

Fantry assured Gaddy that the research would not be as extensive in determining the amount of liability for the town in allowing EMS to place the antenna on the water tank.

Council did not take any action regarding the radio antenna. The next regularly scheduled town council meeting is on Nov. 19.